Hottest acts promised for blues festival

With just five days to go until the sixth Shetland Blues Festival, the organisers are gearing up for one of the most entertaining shows yet.

The bill this year features bands covering a range of blues, from traditional to contemporary, and is headlined by one of the country’s hottest blues acts, King King, featuring Alan Nimmo.

After forming less than a year ago and touring the UK to rave reviews, the band – which includes some of the most accomplished blues musicians around – have set the blues world alight with their brand of smoking hot blues.

Among the other class acts visiting this year are Gwyn Ashton’s Two-Man Blues Army, slide guitar maestro Kevin Brown, acoustic/rock/blues guitarist Bex Marshall and The King Bees. Completing the bill are The Leonard Jones Potential and The Offenders.

Gwyn Ashton’s Two-Man Blues Army has been described as bringing a breath of new life to blues with his alternative mix of blues and indie which combines to meet somewhere between Seasick Steve, The White Stripes and Jimi Hendrix. Ashton has toured with the likes of BB King, Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Peter Green, Canned Heat, Johnny Winter and many others.

Formed in 2008 by Marc Patching, a member of that year’s blues festival favourites the Cherry Lee Mewis’ band, The King Bees bring undiluted blues with their mix of singing guitar, dirty blues harp and a gutbucket rhythm section.

The Offenders are one of Edinburgh’s most dynamic young bands and have been performing together since 2005. Their combination of contemporary and traditional rhythm and blues with funk, rock, jazz, mash-ups and jams is not to be missed.

A leading light in the world of slide guitar and roots music, Kevin Brown is a highly respected record­ing artist, writer and performer of over 30 years standing.

Described as “an explosion of acoustic/rock/blues with a hot poker twist of country”, songwriter Bex Marshall’s combination of clever and imaginative lyrics and brilliant guitar skills have captivated audiences around the world.

There will also be music from some local acts including the Donald Anderson Band, Sheila Henderson, Erin Sandison, the Malachy Tallack band and the Rumshack Blues Band. Unfor­tunately there has been a change to the line-up and Pete Stak and the Rayburns will be unable to play but one of the replacement bands will be the Ramstams on the Sunday.

Another highlight of this year’s festival will be a workshop from Kevin Brown, who has generously offered to give a guitar workshop while he is in Shetland for the festival. The workshop, on basic slide guitar skills and tunes, will take place on Thursday and costs £10.

Organisers would like to remind the public that spaces for this opportunity will be limited but can be booked by emailing or calling 07979 530005.

There are even several free daytime concerts throughout the weekend, with all other tickets priced £10, however places are limited and demand is sure to by high so early booking is advised.

Tickets are available from High Level Music for the gigs in the Lerwick British Legion, Scalloway Hall and the Northern Lights in Brae and tickets for the Sunday night gig will be on sale during the festival on the Friday and Saturday nights. For more details please see the festival programme.

A taster of this year’s bands was on Friday’s Give Us a Tune when festival committee member Jimmy Carlyle and others took to the radio.

Mr Carlyle said: “We’re all geed up for the festival and are looking forward to people coming out to enjoy it. King King, the headline band, are one of the hottest bands in the UK and played the biggest blues festival in the UK about a month ago.”


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